Sounding Board: Leaders express solidarity with Temple Beth Shalom
On Monday, Feb. 8, a swastika was painted on the outside of Temple Beth Shalom and the Holocaust memorial was defaced. Various community and faith groups have expressed their concern and solidarity. Temple Beth Shalom also issued a statement.
We, the undersigned regional church leaders and councils, denounce in the strongest terms the hate crime perpetrated against the congregation of Temple Beth Shalom on Feb. 8, 2021. We join with others in our community who pledge to stand in solidarity with the victims of hate, xenophobia, and antisemitism. As has happened in other times of national crisis, some seek to take advantage of fear and pain to advance racist ideologies to inspire acts of hate. "We reject any ideology which would legitimate forms of injustice and any doctrine which is unwilling to resist such an ideology in the name of the gospel." (Confession of Belhar). We stand in loving solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters in honor and appreciation for their unique and irreplaceable presence in our wider community. We pray for their safety, honor, and peace.
Rev. Mike Denton, Conference Minister of the Pacific Northwest Conference - United Church of Christ
The Rev. Sheryl Kinder-Pyle, Executive Presbyter of the Inland Northwest Presbytery
The Rev. Kristen Kuempel, Bishop, NW Intermountain Synod, ELCA
The Rev. Sandy Messick, Transitional Regional Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) - Northern Lights Region
The Rt. Rev'd Gretchen Rehberg, Bishop, The Episcopal Diocese of Spokane
The Rev. Gregg Sealey, Inland District Superintendent, Pacific NW United Methodist Church
Presbytery of the Inland Northwest
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The Catholic Diocese of Spokane condemns today's act of anti-Semitic vandalism at Temple Beth Shalom. It is shocking to see our Jewish friends and neighbors targeted by this hateful action. The Church firmly "decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone." Vatican Council II, Nostra Aetate, 3. Our prayers are with the Jewish community of Spokane.
The Most Rev. Thomas Daly, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Spokane
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Temple Beth Shalom was grotesquely defaced during the early hours of Monday, Feb. 8. Vandalism would be tagging a building. This was not a simple act of vandalism. Wantonly drawing a swastika, a known anti-Semitic image, on the side of a Jewish temple and defacing a Holocaust memorial is an act of harassment, an act of terrorism. This behavior cannot be ignored or tolerated in a just society. The individual or individuals involved in this act need to be identified and prosecuted.
We call on the greater Spokane community to stand together in actively countering displays of hatred toward others and work to resolve the issues that foster such acts of hatred.
The Spokane County Human Rights Task Force stands in solidarity with our brothers and sisters at Temple Beth Shalom. We stand with all others in direct defiance to an atmosphere of hate.
Statement from the Spokane County Human Rights Task Force
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Feb. 10: The Temple Beth Shalom community is both angered and saddened that this has occurred. We are angered by this violation, but also grieve that members of our society harbor such hatred. We remain vigilant in the fight to protect everyone's right to religious freedom and promote tolerance. We will not let these events deter us from living as Jews in our society.
Antisemitism is a strike not against just Jews, but against all who cherish our society for the love and freedoms we have. Many of you have offered support.We are ever grateful.
The best response is to educate and speak out against hate crimes of any sort, directed at any person or group. Our society should not tolerate bigotry.
Feb 18: The Spokane Police arrested an individual related to the recent graffiti incident.
We are grateful to the Spokane community and to many from around the nation, for the outpouring of support. We have received many messages of support and donations to clean up the damage.
It is so important that we stand together against anti-Semitism, racism and bigotry against on any individual or group. The responses from law enforcement and the community show that we can do this!
Rabbi Tamir Malino and the TBS Board of Trustees
Copyright@ The Fig Tree,March, 2021